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Las Vegas, an American Sniper and the American Constitution

October 4, 2017
Plain English Version

The automatic rifles used by the mass killer in Las Vegas.

Q. What does the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution do?

A. It is a few sentences in the Constitution. They let a madman kill and wound hundreds of people who are attending a concert.

Q. How does it do this?

A. It says the Congress cannot pass a law that limits the right of an American to own a gun (arms).

Q. Why did the Founders do this?

A. That is the question! Back in 1787 when Founders passed the amendment owning a gun was no big deal. No one thought that a madman might shoot innocent civilians. There were no automatic weapons.

Scholars disagree on the reason for the Second Amendment. It is the federal government that has the job of defending the nation. This includes enemies from without and within.

Again, why the need for the Second Amendment? There was fear that the federal government would become too strong. It might step on the rights of the states. States’ rights and the rights of individuals are important to Americans. When the Civil War started, it was about states’ rights. It was not about defending the Second Amendment.

Some experts do see a connection between the Second Amendment and the Civil War.

Here is what they say. In 1787. Slave owners had a problem. What if the slaves revolted? Who would stop such a revolt from spreading? The Southern states shared a belief. The federal government would not come to their aid to stop a slave revolt.

Thus, they had a plan to amend the Constitution. Add a clause that will allow the states to form militias. The militias will stop the slaves. Some say that is the reason for creating the Second Amendment

.Q. Now it is 2017. The Civil War is over. Do we still need the Second Amendment?

A. Most America politicians say it is okay to own a gun for hunting. It is okay to own a gun for self-defense.

Q. What is the problem?

 A. The problem is automatic weapons. Automatic weapons fire as many bullets as possible in the shortest amount of time. The problem is that people can buy these guns and kill innocent people.

Q. Why does not the government do something about gun ownership? Especially the ownership of automatic weapons?

 A. Politicians become afraid when the National Rifle Association (NRA) comes out against them. The NRA is a powerful lobby with lots of money. The NRA says gun ownership is a form of patriotism. The NRA charges that anyone who wants to place limits on owning guns is not a patriot.

Q. What is ahead?

 A. There are one hundred members of the U.S. Senate and four hundred and thirty-five members of the House of Representatives. They can make changes. They do not have to repeal the Second Amendment.

They have to do something. Their inaction aids and abets mass killings in places like Las Vegas. Most people agree you start with knowing more about the people who buy guns. Do they have a criminal record? Do they have a history of mental illness? Then move on to ending the sales of mass killing automatic weapons.


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